Disclaimer: The wonderful world of Narnia belongs to C.S. Lewis and anyone else who has purchased it's rights. Not me :(

Eustace leaned against the railing, letting the gentle sea breeze ruffle his dark hair. It was longer then he ever remembered having it-Alberta did not approve of long hair on a boy-but long was how the Narnian men wore it, so he hadn't bothered to ask for a trim. Funny, he mused silently, how opinions could change so quickly. Had he been asked but a fortnight ago, he would have sworn that no man (or mouse or any other blasted talking animal) would force him to adopt their uncivilised fashions. But now….

He almost hated to admit it, but he really quite enjoyed having people to talk to, people whom he could laugh and joke with. People who he could consider friends. Ever since Aslan had…no, it was before that. Ever since his transformation into a dragon, despite his utter hatred for the reptilian form and the awful predicament it had put them all in, he had never in his life been happier. Oh, certainly there had been many times when he hated himself, and had snuck off to cry and mope, but the tears he had shed were for the trouble he had caused his friends, not for himself, which somehow made him feel better. And throughout these troubled times he had had a most surprising companion.

Thinking back on it now, he couldn't really understand why he had hated Reepicheep so much. Perhaps it was because it had seemed so unnatural (and still did a little) for a mouse to talk, and his initial remarks had set them off on the wrong foot, and his priggish behaviour had prevented any reconcilement between them (though he did think the mouse hadn't made any attempts at reconcilement either-at least until the dragon issue).

His musings were interrupted but the very object of his thoughts.

"What does their Majestys' cousin see on the horizon? Any signs of land?"

The piping voice at his elbow caused Eustace to jerk in surprise and curse loudly. Seeing the mouse's reaction to his words he quickly added "Sorry Mou..Reepicheep. You gave me such a fright."

"I apologise then, cou…Eustace. Next time I shall make my presence better known."

They stood side by side for some time, Reepicheep balancing on a crate to see over the railing before Eustace hesitantly said "No land I'm afraid. Though I do hope we see some soon."

"As do I," the mouse replied, absently twirling his whiskers. "For adventures are far more likely to be found on uncharted land than on this ship."

Remembering with a shudder his last adventure on land, Eustace turned away, fingers brushing against his new sword belt- well Caspian's old sword belt really-and his second best sword too, which Eustace felt was a little pointless since he had no idea how to use it. But he wore it just the same, as it (in his opinion) made him look at least a little more respectable. As the mouse next to him sighed, Eustace was struck by a sudden idea.

Hoping that he would not be simply laughed at (as he did not yet know that this was unchivalrous behaviour to a knight), he faced his furry companion and murmured "Would you…ah…well I was wondering…" Now he blushed as Reepicheep turned to face him, curiosity evident in his black eyes.

"You see," he pressed on hurriedly, "I've never used a sword before, and if I am going to carry one, well I may as well learn how to swing it."

Curiosity turned to astonishment as Reepicheep half squeaked "You wish for me to tutor you in swordsmanship?"

A delighted (and rather toothy) grin spread across the mouse's face. "Certainly I shall assist. If we step over here to a more open space, we can begin with footwork."

And so Eustace learned to duel from a swords-mouse half his height, with twice his dexterity and many times his patience, and from that day forth, Eustace decided that mice really weren't all that bad.